Thursday, January 31, 2013

Met Reject, Listed as "Follower of Rubens" and Estimated at $20,000-$30,000, Sells for $626,500 at Sotheby's

Is this portrait of a young woman by Rubens?

A Metropolitan Museum reject, which was estimated to sell at Sotheby's for between $20,000 and $30,000, was auctioned off today for $626,500 (including premium).  Sotheby's listed it as by a follower of Rubens, but given how much the portrait sold for, it appears that some bidders may have thought otherwise.

In the first half of the 20th century, the painting was considered a Rubens, but scholars in the second half, including heavyweight Julius Held, disagreed.   The Met's own Walter Liedtke, curator of Dutch and Flemish art, thought the painting a copy of a work by Rubens.  It's been suggested that the subject is Rubens' daughter.

The portrait was one of sixteen paintings the Met consigned to Sotheby's to raise money for its acquisitions fund.

Photo from Sotheby's.  Text (c) Copyright 2013 Laura Gilbert